The series on Warnings to the Churches by Bishop J.C. Ryle continues for the Article of the Month. In this installment, Ryle deals with the heart-felt fear which the Apostle Paul carried with him in regard to the frailty of the Church and the danger of it falling victim to the influences of the world and the Devil. And I must say and have said myriad times myself that I too share that same fear in our day. Yes, it is absolutely true that the Church, that true Church for which Christ gave Himself will not and cannot fail nor even be diminished by one single soul. But the visible church has always grown and shrunk due to the fact that within it there exists both the wheat and the tares. It is the visible church which is the focus of this article which Ryle presents from the text, “I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:3, and under three headings:

  • First, the text shows us a spiritual “disease to which we are all susceptible, and which we ought to fear.” That disease is corruption of our minds: “I am afraid your minds may somehow be led astray.”
  • Secondly, the text shows us an “example which we ought to remember, as a beacon:” “Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning.”
  • Thirdly, the text shows us “a point about which we ought to be especially on our guard.” That point is being led astray “from sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”

An additional fear is that some, perhaps many who read Ryle's warning and exhortation will be of the mind that it couldn't pertain to them or their church. It is too often that our gaze is not inward but outward and we too quickly point fingers at others. Like so many parents in regard to their children who have done something wrong, they respond with, "Not MY son!" or "Not MY daughter!"... "He's a GOOD BOY!" or "She's a GOOD GIRL!". May this tendency not be prevalent in those who read this most instructive article.

You can read this article now by clicking here: Apostolic Fears

Or, you can always find it from The Highway home page and clicking on the "Article of the Month" logo.

In His service and grace,

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simul iustus et peccator

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